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Starbucks instant coffee

(post, Sarah Gilbert)

I've been writing a lot about the new Starbucks "Via" instant coffee, which is evidently going to be unveiled on Tuesday. The product will cost $2.95 for a pack of three (they don't say how much a "pack" will brew) and supposedly will taste so much like Starbucks coffee, you can't believe it. Update: a pack brews eight ounces and (according to my brother-in-law) "tastes like Folger's." Only it's roughly 15 times as expensive.

I'm perplexed. It seems like a really great way to capture a market that doesn't exist but lots of AOL commenters say they can't wait for Starbucks instant -- that it will be great to brew at home on the weekends, or when they're camping. If I was camping, I would bring an aluminum presspot and get my "convenience" by grinding my beans ahead of time. Isn't camping about enjoying yourself while you drink campfire coffee? But I digress.

My main question is: what do you all think about this? Would you buy instant coffee if you thought it would be really good? And: my analysis, based on my best guess as to the amount of a "pack", is that the instant coffee from Starbucks would cost five times as much as Folger's and at least twice as much as the coffee I make in a French Press from Stumptown beans. What kind of "value" is this, really, again?